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Ukrainian refugees find jobs in hospitality in Edinburgh

Publication: The Edinburgh Reporter

Graduates from the Destination Hospitality Programme.
Graduates from the Destination Hospitality Programme. Photo by he Edinburgh Reporter | Licensed for use on Scottish Beacon | All rights reserved

A number of refugees from Ukraine have successfully found work in Edinburgh hotels after graduating from an industry training programme.

Nine individuals who fled the Russia-Ukraine war were enrolled on the Destination Hospitality programme, which advances employment skills and helps people to find jobs in the UK hospitality industry. The programme is run in Edinburgh by Springboard, a charity set up to support people to find work in hospitality, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Since graduating from the training programme, five trainees – 90 per cent of whom were Ukrainian refugees – have successfully secured jobs.

Funded by ‘Solidarity Accor’, the hospitality group Accor’s endowment fund, the course was created to fight economic and social exclusion. Two of the trainees have secured roles in Accor hotels in Edinburgh.

Olga, who left Ukraine with her children, has secured a role as a receptionist at an Ibis Hotel in Edinburgh. She said:

“Being a stranger in a new country, it’s necessary to understand local rules and business habits and build professional connections. Springboard’s mentors helped me a lot not only with studying modules but with good advice and psychological support.”

Maryna, a single mother who fled the war in Ukraine to find shelter for herself and her daughter in Scotland, is now successfully working as an F&B Assistant at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre. “I learned to work in a team and have become more confident. I learned many differences in working with clients in my country, Ukraine and Scotland.”, she commented on the programme.

“Given that I am a refugee from Ukraine, I would like to be useful to the country which provided us with shelter. Eventually, I would like to return to Ukraine and bring the knowledge I received here to my home country.”

The Destination Hospitality programme was a three-week programme consisting of in-person and online training and engagement to help to develop soft skills and industry-specific knowledge/qualifications, culminating in a one-week work placement.

Fran Carr, Talent & Culture Director at Accor UK, commented:

“Accor, our hotel teams and Solidarity Accor are proud to work with partners like Springboard to create a brighter future for those who deserve it. It is our duty to support those impacted by economic and social exclusion, which is why programmes like this are so important. I’m excited to hear of the ongoing success these new recruits achieve.”

Chris Gamm, the CEO at Springboard, commented:

“It was a huge honour to work with this highly capable and enthusiastic cohort of candidates. The hospitality industry desperately needs great people, and each individual brings a unique skill set to the table, along with a desire to learn and a real drive to get back to work. Having experienced a huge upheaval in their lives and been forced to leave everything, including their careers, behind, it is admirable to see this resilience in action.”